Laal jhandi, Aunt Flo, chums, periods… call them what you want but for most women, even though we menstruate every month, having your menses is hardly a pleasant experience. In fact, you can almost trust them to come just around an important event like your mid-term exams, a big holiday, date night, or even in the middle of your honeymoon.
And while we’ve got our period products, cycle, and self-care routine down, here are 9 simple menstrual hygiene tips you may be taking for granted during that time of the month.
1. Keep Separate Underwear For Period Days
Separate underwear during period days is necessary for reasons of convenience, practicality, and hygiene. While you may prefer bikini panties on the other days so that they don’t play peek-a-boo over your low waist denims, panties that offer a larger coverage are likely to be your preferred option during your period days. Because your panty needs enough space to hold your pad in place for several hours and also ensure comfort and proper coverage. That is if you use sanitary napkins over tampons and menstrual cups.
Most importantly, you should have panties strictly segregated only for your period days for maintaining good hygiene. No wonder, there are separate period panties readily available nowadays. These panties ensure that you don’t have to use sanitary napkins, tampons or menstrual cups. They are great to absorb blood flow even on days when you’re bleeding heavily and are also a sustainable option.
2. Change Sanitary Napkin Every 4 – 5 Hours
The temperature offers the perfect breeding area for harmful bacteria that may cause vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, skin rashes, etc., unless you change your napkin every 4 to 5 hours. If not, 6 hours at the most. If you prefer using tampons, change them every 2 hours and menstrual cups every 3 to 4 hours.
Read: Period Blood Shade Card – Kya Normal Hai & Kya Nahi
3. Don’t Use Multiple Menstrual Products At The Same Time
Some may prefer using two sanitary napkins, or a sanitary napkin and a tampon, or a sanitary napkin or a tampon at the same time. The thought behind doing so is probably to safeguard against even a minute chance of a leak and keep using the products for longer. However, it isn’t a good practice. As discussed earlier, using menstrual products for more than 6 hours only makes you susceptible to skin rashes and serious infections. So, use one at a time and change it every 4 to 5 hours, or at the most 6 hours.
4. Wash Your Intimate Area After You Pee
You may cringe by the thought of having to wash your genitals when you’re bleeding. Your menstrual blood tends to enter the tiny crevices around the crust of your vagina and the skin between your labia. It is essential for you to clean these areas of excess blood every time you change your sanitary napkin, menstrual cup, or tampon. If you don’t want to touch yourself down there while you’re bleeding, you can use tissue or toilet paper instead, but your hands will always be the most preferred option. Cleaning these areas will keep foul odour away and prevent the growth of bacteria.
5. Wipe From Front To Back
Even if you do wash your vaginal area during your menstrual days, do you clean it the right way? Always remember that you need to clean the area starting from the vagina to the anus, and not the other round like most women tend to do. Washing from the anus to the vagina tends to pull the bacteria lodged in your anus to your vagina and urethral opening, causing infections.
Read: 9 Period Products By Indian Brands That You Didn’t Know You Needed
6. Refrain From Using Soaps
The vagina has its own cleaning mechanism that works to maintain the required balance between bad bacteria and good bacteria. Washing the area with soap tends to kill the good bacteria owing to the chemicals that commercial soaps comprise. This raises the chances of infections in your intimate parts. Although your vagina takes the job of self-cleaning very seriously and does it with impeccable perfection, you need to clean the other intimate parts like the vulva with water, preferably warm water, and nothing else.
7. Take A Shower Every Day
Traditional advice often tells us to not shower during period days. However, it is nothing more than a myth and is definitely not backed by science. The advice is rooted in the days when everyone would take a dip at the nearby lake, river or pond and, hence, it wasn’t practical for menstruating women to take a shower at the same water body. Now that circumstances aren’t the same, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take a shower during your period days. Other than getting enough time to clean your private area properly, a warm bath relieves menstrual pain, backaches, and cramps, makes you feel less bloated, and also elevates your mood. Stand under a warm shower with the water directed towards your abdomen or back, wherever you want some comfort, and feel the pain subside in no time.
8. Use Protection If You’re Having Period Sex
You cannot be further away from the truth if you believe that you don’t need to use protection while having sex on your period because you can’t get pregnant. The reality is that you can conceive if you have sex without protection even on your period days. Whether you can conceive or not depends on your fertility and also the fertility of the sperm reaching your egg. Menstrual flow does not act as a barrier for this process.
9. Dispose Off Your Sanitary Product With Care
There is no other way to discard your sanitary product after use other than wrapping it up securely before throwing it away. This is essential to prevent foul odour from emanating from the used menstrual product as well as to control the spread of infections. The longer these used products lie around without a wrapper, the higher the chances of infections spreading. It also goes without saying that used menstrual products shouldn’t be washed down the toilet to prevent them from clogging the pipelines. Last but not the least, wash your hands thoroughly after disposing of these products because you’re likely to have touched their used parts.
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